Google launches Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a with 5G, its first phones with new network technology

Gallery: Upcoming phones: The future smartphones of 2020 and 2021 (Pocket-lint)

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Google has launched new phones, its first ever with 5G.

The Pixel 4a with 5G and the more expensive Pixel 5 with 5G both add the faster internet speeds as well as a range of other new upgrades and features.

The Pixel 5 starts at £599 and comes in black and “Sorta Sage”. The Pixel 4a with 5G starts at £499 and only comes in black.

Both phones open for pre-orders today and will go on sale on 15 October. That is the same as the other devices – a new Nest Audio smart speaker and an updated and reimagined Chromecast – which were launched at the same event.

In its introduction to the new phones, Google stressed that while the extra speed of 5G is helpful, the company focused on how that could provide extra features to users.

Those included better performance in its Stadia streaming gaming service, the ability to share screens and watch videos together using its Google Duo video calling service, and a smart downloads tool that will queue up YouTube videos in the background so that they can be watched even when there is no service.

But the company did add new upgrades for the Pixel 5, including water resistance, 8GB of RAM and a reverse wireless charging feature that means it can charge up other phones or accessories such as the Pixel Buds.

It takes largely the same design as the existing Pixel 4 but puts it in a new aluminium body. It also gets rid of the “forehead” that housed the camera at the top of the display, and instead swaps it for a “holepunch” where only the camera’s lens intrudes into the screen.

That display is a 6-inch OLED screen, which comes at full HD resolution.

The Pixel 5 and 5G Pixel 4a have the same camera systems. Both get a new ultra-wide lens in the back, like the top-end iPhones, and add extra software features for photos such as the ability to combine its Night Sight mode for seeing in the dark with the portrait mode.

During the announcement, Google also announced new software features called “Extreme Battery Saver” and “Hold For Me”. The former allows a user to choose which apps should stay open to keep the battery alive, and Google claimed it can add an extra 48 hours of charge; the latter uses artificial intelligence to stay on hold and alert its owner when someone comes to the phone.

Both of those features will come to older Pixel phones soon, Google said.

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